Quantifying Brazil’s Economically Inactive Citizens

Brazil boasts of a population of nearly 208 million people of which it is estimated that 90.2 million are economically active.  This is an important aspect of economics and population to consider, as there yet remains those in less developed areas that survive on subsistence farming and more traditional forms of self-sustenance beyond the unemployed.  These are important concepts to grasp when we consider high unemployment rates in developing economies like Brazil, Mali and Mexico.

Unfortunately, job creation in Brazil has been exceptionally low, with the Brazilian economy posting some of the lowest numbers in 12-month range occurring in December of 2016 according to Brazilian General Registry of Unemployed Persons (GAGED).

Recently the nation has been embroiled on the issue of pension reform as it seeks to free up more monies to address education and a host of other services, including the longevity of the pension itself.  Currently Brazil has a GDP of nearly 2 Trillion dollars, its top exports are Soybean, Iron Ore and Raw Sugar.  While Brazil does not suffer from a trade gap, in export and import, the Portuguese-speaking nation suffers from huge income inequities.  Per capita income in Brazil hovers around just over 3000 with wild fluctuations occurring during volatile or lucrative periods in the nation or the world economy.  But that doesn’t tell the whole story, in fact, according to Oxfam.org, it would take the average Brazilian 19 years to reach the same economic level as the wealthiest in the nation.

Financial inequity in Brazil, like most developing economies is exacerbated by the economically inactive.  Brazil has close to 117 Billion people who can be classified as economically inactive—that is more than half of the total population.  The question then becomes how to reckon the economically inactive.  Should populations in rural, forested or largely untouched areas be left to continue their way of life?  The alternative would be to push such populations into the mainstream for the purpose of fully urbanizing the nation.  Such pursuits a tedious at best and fraught with a number of moral issues that beg the questions of whether it is right to force populations into new lifestyles with the intent of improving national numbers and industrializing growing economies.

Unfortunately, these are questions many developed nations never stopped to ask, as they powered through undeveloped territories.  While moral obligations abound, many nations like Brazil are left struggling with national numbers that do not accurately reflect the machinations of the nation.  It will be fascinating to see whether nations like Brazil will forge a new model of economic growth, measurement and sustainability that more accurately depicts its national character.

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